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What is it about August? Fall Garden Update

Damn it has been a hot minute (or couple months…) since I’ve been on here.

August is always a weird month for me. It’s a time when most of the year has been used, maybe a few small travel plans to see family or friends, and then the biggest part is preparing for everything coming in the fall and the holidays that are right around the corner. I tend to always be slow to other things this time of year because I want to focus on seeing those we have missed and of course I teach and this is time to prep for those classes!

Along with all the other things that go on this time of year, I also have a lot going on in the garden that has slowly been happening whenever there is a cooler day that I won’t be sweating by 9am. And man oh man has the garden change in prep for fall crops and the last I can get before the winter months.

August is also the time when a lot starts to come into season and is ready for harvest, or so it should be. Being the first year in this space there has been A LOT of trial and error as I figure out what works where and what I can grow. This year did not give me as much as I hoped so far (someone’s been enjoying a lot of my veggies though…) but this is a learning experience to see what I should plan and prepare for next year!

First off let’s talk about these tomatoes. Three newer larger ones went into the garden bed while I kept the ones in the pots. The potted tomatoes barely have grown. I have made sure to feed them, water every other day, and try to get something from them. I have gotten a few small tomatoes started but since they line the garden they are

A little purple corn...

also the first defense and have been taken before they even get any color. They also are the smallest tomato plants I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what went wrong with them this year. I think the late freeze stunted them for a long time. They didn’t grow much until July and by that time there wasn’t much left for them to get big and produce much. I’ve kept them as long as I can but have come to letting them go without getting anything in return. The larger ones in the garden bed are doing a lot better. Many flowers, nice size, but again SOMEONE IS EATING THEM. We did have some romas and big boys starting to get red but before they got fully ripe, someone came in the night and pulled the whole branch down and got away with the red beauties. I do have more coming along but not as many as a tomato should produce so we will see if I can get anymore. Luckily my sister has a lot of tomatoes and has been supplying me with some to use in the kitchen.

Next up the corn. My poor corn. These have been back and forth. The ones on the side of the house were a disaster. Most never produced ears, only got about 2-3 feet tall, and then while visiting Ben’s family we came home to them dried up and dead. The side of the house has been tough and with the lower light I saw early on the corn wouldn’t be that great. I did get like 2 super tiny ears of cute colored corn that I dried for fall decorations but nothing worth eating. The yellow corn in the garden on the other hand was looking a lot better. Some storms pushed them over and there has been a small fight with Mother Nature to make them stand up again while more wind knocks them down. They produced a decent amount

Many ears never formed

of ears but either they didn’t pollinate correctly and didn’t form, they got infected with bugs, or they grew this mold on them. The moldy ones technically are edible and considered a delicacy in some cultures but as someone who hasn’t had them before I wasn’t sure how to use them and the white exterior with a powder black interior scared me and the family from trying them. I ended up pulling the corn to plant fall crops instead. It was still great to have though, the bugs loved the pollen and while pulling them up I found a cute little frog hanging out. A quick catch, showing them to my nephews who were in town that day, then relocating to a new plant and the frog hopefully will stay with us and have a good life in the garden.

The beans have been doing well. The ones on the side have slowed down and started to dry up but I did get quite a lot through the season. The bush beans in the main garden go really big and produced a lot as well. At one point some bug took a decent amount but only once so don’t know what happened there. I have since started peas to go into the fall and last the first frost. Most have been taken over by other plants but a few are starting to climb so hopefully get a few before winter.

As for squash, it has been a constant fight against squash beetles on the summer squash and pumpkins. I have gotten a couple small pumpkins and a

This pumpkin's vine got eaten before it could fully turn

decent amount of summer squash. They have since started to wilt away with the fall and I pull them as they go. The pumpkins have taken over a lot but are doing well. I still have to cut them back when a beetle gets in and plants some eggs…

The peppers are slowly producing. Some getting really large as well. May pull them up and pot them for winter but we will see… The rest of the bed is fall crops. I found old okra seeds and they all ended up taking so I can get some late season okra. I through some carrot, beet, and radish seeds. I see some peak up and hope more will come.

Outside the ground and in pots we have a lot of life though. Sage and rosemary thriving. All the indoor plants are twice the size. Raspberry and blackberry doing well. And plenty of flowers growing for the pollinators. Caught quite a few butterflies visiting which has been exciting and the hummingbirds and bumbles have become very calm around me. The main plant though is anise hyssop. It has just taken over from just a few scattered seeds and the bees LOVE it. I have been harvesting a lot of leaves for tea which is also delicious, but the flowers stay for the bees.

At this point I think I’m done with new plants. I watch the shadows creep further each day and soon it will cool down and the season will be over. In the mean time I harvest whenever I need to, prepare to trim back and protect for the colder months, and of course look ahead to what I should do with a clean start next year.



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